Today is Monday and I have to go to work. I’m trying to cut down on my use of four letter words, but I just can’t seem to shake ‘work’. I want to go back to bed. It’s not that I’m physically tired. I’m just a little road weary.

Benjamin Ange Brazendale SunsetAll I really want is to do what I want when I want. Is that too much to ask? Probably. Maybe. Yes. No.

There have been times in the world of the Afterloss when I just didn’t care. I needed to stop and I stopped. I really didn’t have much choice. It felt like I just laid down on the sidewalk and people ignored my prostrate body as they stepped over it to get to wherever they were going. And I simply didn’t care.

I didn’t care if I ate. I didn’t care if I slept. I didn’t care if I slept too much. I just didn’t care. My heart was frozen. My life was empty. And to care would have thawed my frozen life just enough to hurt and fill it just enough to feel how empty it was.

Sooner or later I needed to rise from the sidewalk and start walking again. I started to want to ease my way back into life. It hurt through the thawing process and I leaned into the slow filling of my day with people to meet, places to go, work that needed to done.

In the midst of this evolutionary process, somewhere in the depths of my Afterloss, I started to care again. I hadn’t lost the will to live as I had lost the will to want to will at all.

But today, work beckons. And really, work is healing me too.

Benjamin Beautiful peopleDuring a period right after we found out about their HIV, I lost my job. Almost immediately, however, in a miraculous set of circumstances, I was offered a job with a group of the most wonderful people I could ever have imagine. There was very little office space and I sat in small cubicle in the middle of the hallway. I was so devastated during that period and just wanted to crawl inside a hole far away from everything and everybody. Here I was in the middle of all the traffic.

On more than one occasion a co-workers would stop by and we’d chat about this or that. Sometimes our conversations were deep, sometimes light. Without them who knows where I would be today.

I wanted to stop but the world kept pulling me along. Looking back, I now know I needed that more than I realized. In my world of the Afterloss I’ve learned to accept that sometimes I don’t always know what I really need.

I have found work to be like life – it’s not what I can get; it’s what I can give. In my darkest moments I can easily get caught up in what I think I need. But in those moments, the solution is to focus on what can I give. Even when I think I have so little to give, it is the act of giving that aligns me and brings fluidity to the stagnation that sorrow sometimes surrounds me.

Today I’ve got deadlines. I’m running a little behind. I may not finish everything, but my goal is to do the best I can and leave it at that.

Benjamin World Stop pullingThere have been so many beautiful people who have stopped to be with me in my brokenness. The special ones didn’t shy away from my sorrow or shun my sadness. They sat as close as they could in silent support. Without them being there, I wouldn’t be here.

There are days I want to stop, but I remember all those that stopped for me. When I sit with another it is sacred space we share. I do not take that lightly nor for granted.

The heart is holy ground. To be invited into another’s broken heart, to be able to share the brokenness of my heart is truly the greatest gift I can receive and the greatest gift I can give.

I think I’ll keep going.


Benjamin Didn't care if ate and slept

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